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March 2009 IT Industry News

This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for March 2009. What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which is available in more detail at the Eagle website. You will also find back issues on the website.

Two years ago, in March 2007 Cisco was “on a tear” announcing 3 acquisitions, including the $3.3 Billion purchase of WebEx, that month Microsoft also paid about $800 Million for Tellme networks. In March 2008 Microsoft announced three separate deals (one reputedly in the $100Million range); the biggest deal of that month was AOL’s $850 Million purchase of social networking company Bebo; Acer paid $290 Million for E-Ten and Synopsis paid $227 Million for another semiconductor company Synplicity. Also a year ago, Motorola announced that it is going to split into two separate companies (one mobile company and the other networking).

In March 2009 we continue to suffer through tough economic times and record unemployment. Having said that, not ALL of the news has been bleak … in fact one report suggests that the US high-tech industry actually gained 77,000 jobs in 2008, and a couple of Robert Half surveys suggest most CIOs are planning on retaining or growing their staffing levels this year. Meanwhile mass layoff for February in the US saw an increase of 65% over the previous year. More good news was, for the first time in many years there was an increase in grads majoring in computer science.

Some companies in the news for layoffs this month include Cisco, Allegis Group, Nokia, CGI, Google and SUN. Google was also in the news for creating a $100 Million venture fund, and SUN has been the centre of speculation about a potential $6.5 Billion merger with IBM. IBM has also been rumored to be interested in Satyam. There was not a ton of actual M&A activity this month however Bell Canada’s surprise purchase of The Source was interesting and the break-up of BearingPoint, post Chapter 11, will benefit Deloitte, Price Water House Coopers, some management teams plus some Asian purchasers.

That’s what caught my eye over the last month. Hope this was useful and I’ll be back with the April 2009 news in just about a month’s time.